Breath, Voice & Sound

There are so many health benefits that come from optimal breathing affecting key systems in the body such as: immune, respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and lymphatic systems (to name a few). It is also part of our natural detoxification process and can heighten our intuition, balance subtle energy systems that affect all the bodies: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.
The breath is the first physiological response to be affected by trauma and stress. The affect on our breathing patterns is rarely noticed yet the resulting effects on body, mind, emotions and spirit are profound. Bringing awareness to the breath can help unwind the limiting patterns resulting from years of stress, disconnection from the body/emotions and/or trauma.
Voice is the breath manifest and stimulates circulation and nerve energy in the body. It creates vibration from the inside out and works with breath to give an internal massage, enlivening organs and tissue.

There are at least three neurophysical healing processes which may be triggered by sound & music.

1. Sound/Music/Vibration is nonverbal so can move through the brain’s auditory cortex directly to the center of the limbic system. This system governs emotional experiences and basic metabolic responses such as body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. It can help create new neuropathways in the brain, as well.

2. Sound can activate the flow of stored memory and imagined material across the corpus collosum (bridge between left and right hemispheres of the brain)helping the two work in harmony. This stimulates the immune system.

3. Sound can excite peptides in the brain and stimulate the production of endorphins, which are natural opiates secreted by the hypothalamus, which produces a feeling of natural euphoria, shifting mood and emotion.

Research on the neurological component of sound is currently attracting many to the field of psychoacoustics. A growing school of thought – based on the teachings of the French doctor Alfred Tomatis – values the examination of both neurological and psychological effects of resonance and frequencies on the human body.

Dr. Alfred Tomatis is considered the Father of Psychoacoustics. Joshua Leeds expands and confirms the theories of Dr. Tomatis with the modern addition of computerized measurement of brainwaves, heart rates, and other body pulses. Researchers like Joshua can now document specific uses and benefits of music for the body, mind, and psyche through neuro-feedback and other computer programs. With the ability to measure comes specificity; and then the employment of sound and music can become more precise… Music can now be symptom-specific, application-specific, and environment-specific.

• All atomic matter vibrates.

• Frequency is the speed at which matter vibrates.

• The frequency of vibration creates sound (sometimes inaudible).

• Sounds can be molded into music.

Resonance can be broadly defined as “the impact of one vibration on another.” Literally, it means “to send again, to echo.” To resonate is to “re-sound.” Something external sets something else into motion, or changes its vibratory rate. This can have many different effects some subtle and some not so.

Another fascinating and important aspect of resonance is the process of entrainment. Entrainment, in the context of psychoacoustics, concerns changing the rate of brain waves, breaths, or heartbeats from one speed to another through exposure to external, periodic rhythms.

Music alters the performance of the nervous system primarily because of entrainment. Entrainment is the rhythmic manifestation of resonance. With entrainment, a stronger external pulse does not just activate another pulse but actually causes the latter to move out of its own resonant frequency to match it.

Understanding the interlocking concepts of resonance and entrainment enables us to grasp the way external tone and rhythm can heal or create havoc. Sound affects glass and concrete as well as brain waves, motor response, and organic cells.

Rhythmic entrainment is contagious: If the brain doesn’t resonate with a rhythm, neither will the breath or heart rate. In this context, rhythm takes on new meanings. Not only is it entertaining, but rhythmic entrainment is a potent sonic tool as well – be it for motor function or other autonomic processes such as brainwave, heart, and breath rates. Alter one pulse (such as brain waves) with music, and the other major pulses (heart and breath) will dutifully follow.

Vocal sounds appear to be commonly associated with creation stories and often used for healing in many cultures. In our culture they are at the least a powerful form of self-expression and means for being heard. This outlet is historical and our task now is to find continually accessible forms that liberate the voice and bring it back to each person.

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